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New Book Releases for January 2023

by Jen Moyers (@jen.loves.books)


There are so many good books coming out in January! I decided to limit myself to one pick per release date . . . just know that there are many, many more I could have highlighted!


January 3

Book cover of Talia Hibbert's Highly Suspicious and Unfairly Cute

Talia Hibbert's Highly Suspicious and Unfairly Cute (Bookshop.org | Libro.fm)


Description from Publisher:


"From the New York Times bestselling author of the Brown Sisters trilogy, comes a laugh-out-loud story about a quirky content creator and a clean-cut athlete testing their abilities to survive the great outdoors--and each other.


"Bradley Graeme is pretty much perfect. He's a star football player, manages his OCD well (enough), and comes out on top in all his classes . . . except the ones he shares with his ex-best friend, Celine.


"Celine Bangura is conspiracy-theory-obsessed. Social media followers eat up her takes on everything from UFOs to holiday overconsumption--yet, she's still not cool enough for the popular kids' table. Which is why Brad abandoned her for the in-crowd years ago. (At least, that's how Celine sees it.)


"These days, there's nothing between them other than petty insults and academic rivalry. So when Celine signs up for a survival course in the woods, she's surprised to find Brad right beside her.


"Forced to work as a team for the chance to win a grand prize, these two teens must trudge through not just mud and dirt but their messy past. And as this adventure brings them closer together, they begin to remember the good bits of their history. But has too much time passed . . . or just enough to spark a whole new kind of relationship?"

Why I want to read it:

Our love of Hibbert's steamy adult romances is well documented on the podcast, so I am beyond excited to see what comes of her expansion into YA romance. Bradley and Celine sound like perfect Hibbert characters—nuanced and complexly drawn—and the setup here also sounds like great fun.

 

January 10

Book cover of Laura Shepperson's Phaedra

Laura Shepperson's Phaedra (Bookshop.org | Libro.fm)


Description from Publisher:


"Debut novelist Laura Shepperson offers a powerful feminist retelling of Phaedra and her unyielding quest for justice, perfect for fans of Madeline Miller and Natalie Haynes.


"Phaedra has been cast to the side all her life: daughter of an adulteress, sister of a monster, and now unwilling bride to the much-older, power-hungry Theseus. Young, naïve, and idealistic, she has accepted her lot in life, resigned to existing under the sinister weight of Theseus's control and the constant watchful eye of her handsome stepson Hippolytus.


"When supposedly pious Hippolytus assaults her, Phaedra's world is darkened in the face of untouchable, prideful power. In the face of injustice, Phaedra refuses to remain quiet any longer: such an awful truth demands to be brought to light. When Phaedra publicly accuses Hippolytus of rape, she sparks an overdue reckoning.


"The men of Athens gather to determine the truth. Meanwhile, the women of the city, who have no vote, are gathering in the shadows. The women know truth is a slippery thing in the hands of men. There are two sides to every story, and theirs has gone unheard. Until now.


"Timely, unflinching, and transportive, Laura Shepperson's Phaedra carves open long-accepted wounds to give voice to one of the most maligned figures of mythology and offers a stunning story of how truth bends under the weight of patriarchy but can be broken open by the force of one woman's bravery."


Why I want to read it:

I've had such good luck with retellings of Greek mythology, and the comparison to Miller and Haynes immediately grabbed my attention. The shift to telling this story from the lens of Phaedra herself is also intriguing.

 

January 17

Book cover of Marisa Crane's I Keep My Exoskeletons to Myself

Marisa Crane's I Keep My Exoskeletons to Myself (Bookshop.org | Libro.fm)


Description from Publisher:


"Dept. of Speculation meets Black Mirror in this lyrical, speculative debut about a queer mother raising her daughter in an unjust surveillance state.


"In a United States not so unlike our own, the Department of Balance has adopted a radical new form of law enforcement: rather than incarceration, wrongdoers are given a second (and sometimes, third, fourth, and fifth) shadow as a reminder of their crime--and a warning to those they encounter. Within the Department, corruption and prejudice run rampant, giving rise to an underclass of so-called Shadesters who are disenfranchised, publicly shamed, and deprived of civil rights protections.


"Kris is a Shadester and a new mother to a baby born with a second shadow of her own. Grieving the loss of her wife and thoroughly unprepared for the reality of raising a child alone, Kris teeters on the edge of collapse, fumbling in a daze of alcohol, shame, and self-loathing. Yet as the kid grows, Kris finds her footing, raising a child whose irrepressible spark cannot be dampened by the harsh realities of the world. She can't forget her wife, but with time, she can make a new life for herself and the kid, supported by a community of fellow misfits who defy the Department to lift one another up in solidarity and hope.


"With a first-person register reminiscent of the fierce self-disclosure of Sheila Heti and the poetic precision of Ocean Vuong, I Keep My Exoskeletons to Myself is a bold debut novel that examines the long shadow of grief, the hard work of parenting, and the power of queer resistance."


Why I want to read it:

I absolutely love this kind of novel, which blends a dystopian society with elements of fantasy (it's why I loved Shusterman's Scythe trilogy so much!). The comparison to Vuong makes me hope that the writing here will be as strong as the premise.

 

January 24

Book cover of Emma Lord's Begin Again

Emma Lord's Begin Again (Bookshop.org | Libro.fm)


Description from Publisher:


"Filled with a friend group that feels like family, an empowering journey of finding your own way, and a Just Kiss Already! romance, Emma Lord's Begin Again is an unforgettable YA novel of love and starting again.


"As usual, Andie Rose has a plan: Transfer from community college to the hyper competitive Blue Ridge State, major in psychology, and maintain her lifelong goal of becoming an iconic self-help figure despite the nerves that have recently thrown her for a loop. All it will take is ruthless organization, hard work, and her trademark unrelenting enthusiasm to pull it all together.


"But the moment Andie arrives, the rest of her plans go off the rails. Her rocky relationship with her boyfriend Connor only gets more complicated when she discovers he transferred out of Blue Ridge to her community college. Her roommate Shay needs a major, and despite Andie's impressive track record of being The Fixer, she's stumped on how to help. And Milo, her coffee-guzzling grump of an R.A. with seafoam green eyes, is somehow disrupting all her ideas about love and relationships one sleep-deprived wisecrack at a time.


"But sometimes, when all your plans are in rubble at your feet, you find out what you're made of. And when Andie starts to find the power of her voice as the anonymous Squire on the school's legendary pirate radio station-the same one her mom founded, years before she passed away-Andie learns that not all the best laid plans are necessarily the right ones."


Why I want to read it:

Emma Lord's YA books are consistently great for me. I love the way she writes both friendship and romance, and I think she pushes the situations that we typically find in YA romance to their fun/challenging limit.

 

January 31

Book cover of Jane Harper's Exiles

Jane Harper's Exiles (Bookshop.org | Libro.fm)


Description from Publisher:


"Federal Investigator Aaron Falk is on his way to a small town deep in Southern Australian wine country for the christening of an old friend's baby. But mystery follows him, even on vacation.


"This weekend marks the one-year anniversary of Kim Gillespie's disappearance. One year ago, at a busy town festival on a warm spring night, Kim safely tucked her sleeping baby into her stroller, then vanished into the crowd. No one has seen her since. When Kim's older daughter makes a plea for anyone with information about her missing mom to come forward, Falk and his old buddy Raco can't leave the case alone.


"As Falk soaks up life in the lush valley, he is welcomed into the tight-knit circle of Kim's friends and loved ones. But the group may be more fractured than it seems. Between Falk's closest friend, the missing mother, and a woman he's drawn to, dark questions linger as long-ago truths begin to emerge. What would make a mother abandon her child? What happened to Kim Gillespie?"


Why I want to read it:

This is book three in Harper's series focusing on Aaron Falk, and she hasn't put out a book yet that I haven't absolutely loved. (If you're doing the Unabridged Podcast Reading Challenge, I highly recommend Harper for the "Mystery novel or collection" category!)


#pubdayshoutouts

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Interested in what else we're reading? Check out our Featured Books page.


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